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Davis, California

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Filmmaking couple raises a film

Husband and wife Liam Creighton and Courtney Hopf know it takes a village to raise a baby. However, their creation is actually a 15 minute short film, Julie, Julie. Nevertheless, the proud parents still received a lot of support to raise their baby.

“We joke it’s a baby to us,” Hopf said. “Making this film is the equivalent of raising a kid. We had a lot of generous people in the community. They gave their time and energy and donated what they could.”

Julie, Julie tells the story of a loving couple whose relationship falters as they fail to find a way to communicate. The short film will be screened at this year’s Sacramento French Film Festival, which will take place July 18 to 27 at Crest Theatre.

It was at last year’s festival where Creighton conceived of the short film. He was privileged to screen thousands of short films and was inspired to write and direct one himself. Creighton went home afterward and brought the idea to his wife.

“I might make one,” Creighton said. “So I go to Courtney and said, ‘I got something I want to make.'”

Hopf, who is a graduate student in the English department at UC Davis, had no experience in filmmaking. However, she wanted to be supportive to her husband. She agreed to raise Creighton’s dreams, thinking it would a small budget film.

“He says to me, ‘I need you – can I count on you?'” Hopf said. “I was thinking he was going to use his little camera, but he didn’t. He always goes for the absolute best. He got me and I couldn’t back out.”

Creighton wrote and directed Julie, Julie while Hopf signed on to be the production manager and co-producer of the film. The pair started work in September and began driving up and down California scouting locations for scenes in the movie.

To capture and document the process of making a film, they also set up a website that updated their friends and family about the project. Using the website, they asked loved ones for donations to cover the expenses.

“We wanted to communicate how much it takes to make a movie,” Creighton said. “We wanted to show the efforts and explain it to our family.”

They started filming in January and originally budgeted $10,000 for the short film. Despite escalating costs that ballooned to over $24,000, they managed to stay out of debt – thanks to a recent screening at the Varsity Theatre and generous support from their family and friends

“We thought we should donate a little,” said Karma Waltonen, the founder of the Margaret Atwood Book Club. “We wanted to help the project.”

Creighton met Hopf while she was studying abroad in the United Kingdom. He later moved to Davis along with Hopf as she pursued her Ph.D. in English literature. He said that he will use Julie, Julie to apply for film school in the United Kingdom once she finishes in two years.

“It began with her turn and then it will be my turn,” Creighton said.

Unlike the characters in their film, Creighton and Hopf communicate well together. The two feel that the film has brought them closer.

“The couple had communication problems, but we have a good communication,” Hopf said. “We didn’t know we were such a good team. We always respected each other and now we respect each [other] even more.”

To watch the behind-the-scenes of Julie, Julie, go to junkopia.net/movieblog. The Sacramento French Film Festival will be held July 18 to 27 at Crest Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at sacramentofrenchfilmfestival.org

 

JACKSON YAN can be reached at arts@californiaaggie.com.

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